How Would You Prepare For This?

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How Would You Prepare For This?
« on: August 01, 2012, 02:50:44 PM »
So, I'm trying to do some internal preparation for running a Dungeon World game soonish.  I feel like I'm having trouble getting into the right mindset.

The idea I have right now is to run the players through a classic dungeon crawl.  Something a little incoherent, with rooms deep inside caves that are full of wolves for no reason.

If that was your goal, to run a classic, slightly incoherent, dungeon crawl how would you prepare for that day?  What would you do before you get to the game?  What questions would you ask during character creation?

Imagine this is Iron Chef.  The Chairman has just pulled away the lid and revealed the secret ingredient ("CLASSSSSIIIIIIC DUNGEON CRAAAAAAAAWL!"), make a meal to wow the judges.  Stay away from the ice cream maker, for that is a trap to lure you into flying too close to the sun.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 04:37:07 PM by MrPrim »

Re: How Would You Prepare For This?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2012, 05:03:11 PM »
I don't know how useful this will be, but this is something I've wanted to do for a while and might inspire you...

I want to take a deck of index cards (the exact number will vary) and write down somewhat random (possibly themed) encounters (room types, traps, puzzles, enemies, etc...).

Then as the players explore, I will draw my map as I desire and for each room/area I will draw 1-3 cards and that is what they find. Some of the cards will be themed, some will be rather random, a few will connect to other cards (a key on one card, door on another) etc.

If you want a goal / macguffin, write that down too, and insert it at random somewhere low in the deck.

I'll try to come up with more advice later, but I think this would be cool for a slightly random / incoherent dungeon while still having some thought put into it beforehand.

(This is not standard DW procedure! Hack at your own risk! :) )

- Alex

Re: How Would You Prepare For This?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2012, 07:38:48 PM »
Create at least two short lists: rooms and monsters. Roll on both when characters enter a new area. Other useful lists would be ones for traps and treasure. And maybe special/miscellaneous.

Essentially, copy Gygax's approach to solo-adventuring from Strategic Review 1.

Re: How Would You Prepare For This?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2012, 11:47:20 PM »
While we're being creative, here's an alternate process based on the card game 1000 Blank White Cards.  Start by cutting a bunch of pieces of paper into four pieces each.  Give each player two of the 1/4th blank sheets of paper.  Tell them to draw a dungeon location on each sheet.  Tell them to write 3 facts about each location along the side of the sheet - they could be monsters, items, smells, NPCs, whatever.  Shuffle all the pages and pick one at random.  Lay it out on the table.  Read the details of the location, ask each person a question about the location, and then tell them an immediate situation they face. When they leave, take a spare 1/4 sheet and draw some tunnel, maybe a branch, then draw a new location from the stack.  For each room, ask the players for more details.  When you're half way through the stack, give each person an extra blank 1/4 sheet and tell them to make one more location that relates to a location that is already in play.  When the players explore all of the locations, the adventure is over - draw the world map together and head home to write your fronts.  I dig this method because the players get to write locations, they surprise each other because they've only seen the ones they themselves have written, and the GM still gets to interpret their location and weave it into the developing setting/narrative.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 11:04:44 AM by mease19 »

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Re: How Would You Prepare For This?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2012, 01:19:10 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsnvANYBRWo

This is WICKed, and works for almost any system. Get those players invested. A pile of dungeon tiles and any monster manual for reference is a boon too.

Re: How Would You Prepare For This?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2012, 09:24:29 AM »
For you first session? Prepare 1 single sentence. The very first thing you tell them when the session starts. It needs to be in media res.

For example!

"You stare at the giant, ominous structure. It's high, dark grey spires look like tendrils coming out of the ground. You know exactly what they conceal and you are there to stop it. What do you do?"

Then procede to asking them what's in the tower, why they got there, why they care, how many Bothan spies died giving them that information and so on. This is their world, let them create it. You're just the audience (with some voting power).

Imagine they say the dungeon is the home of a necromancer. It tells you quite a few things:

1- The dungeon is populated by the undead.
2- The players want to fight gross monsters and be exposed to gory scenes
3- There's probably a creepy lab with a monster built from spare parts, and probably a torture chamber.

and voilĂ , your prep is done, and they get to fight what they want to fight, and you get to relax. Just take a bunch of notes.

When they leave that first dungeon, pull out a piece of paper and stick in right in the middle and go: So, what's around the dungeon? I'm guessing there's probably a village close-by... And so on. Your players will surprise you, I promise.

Re: How Would You Prepare For This?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2012, 10:25:25 AM »
For you first session? Prepare 1 single sentence. The very first thing you tell them when the session starts. It needs to be in media res.

For example!

"You stare at the giant, ominous structure. It's high, dark grey spires look like tendrils coming out of the ground. You know exactly what they conceal and you are there to stop it. What do you do?"

Then procede to asking them what's in the tower, why they got there, why they care, how many Bothan spies died giving them that information and so on. This is their world, let them create it. You're just the audience (with some voting power).

Imagine they say the dungeon is the home of a necromancer. It tells you quite a few things:

1- The dungeon is populated by the undead.
2- The players want to fight gross monsters and be exposed to gory scenes
3- There's probably a creepy lab with a monster built from spare parts, and probably a torture chamber.

and voilĂ , your prep is done, and they get to fight what they want to fight, and you get to relax. Just take a bunch of notes.

When they leave that first dungeon, pull out a piece of paper and stick in right in the middle and go: So, what's around the dungeon? I'm guessing there's probably a village close-by... And so on. Your players will surprise you, I promise.

This does seem like the best way to do it, in the spirit of the game, especially for our very first ever game of DW.  I do worry that my players will be either a) struck with option paralysis or b) lose investment in the world if they feel like it's JUST been made up... by them.  We'll see.

Re: How Would You Prepare For This?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2012, 10:53:04 AM »
More specifically, here's how I prepare for a game.  These are intended to be used during the first session (although you could them later in the game too).  The first one is the most like a straight-forward dungeon.  The other two are more out-doorsy.

The Goblin Hole

Black Oak Ridge

The Shallow Sea

I'm still in the process of updating the text formatting to match the layout in the final book and will update the docs eventually.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 11:40:16 AM by mease19 »

Re: How Would You Prepare For This?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2012, 11:38:38 AM »


This does seem like the best way to do it, in the spirit of the game, especially for our very first ever game of DW.  I do worry that my players will be either a) struck with option paralysis or b) lose investment in the world if they feel like it's JUST been made up... by them.  We'll see.

The trick is to not just tell them "And now, make a map!" but to ask a bunch of pointed specific questions. Like where the fighter learnt to fight (it's probably on the map!), who the thief ripped off recently (the NPC lives somewhere) and so on. For my group, we just played on fantasy tropes.

The players started in a jail cell and broke out, managed to flee the city (mid-siege, no less) and then got to work drawing a map. One of them made a forest with a grove and a pond in the middle, called it "The Grove of Sudden Death", and I went, well, it's a creepy forest, there's probably a ruined creepy tower in there somewhere, right?

When they went to see it, the bard decided to see if he could read the markings over the tower's gate. He succeeded his roll and I got him to tell me what was written. And the dungeon was immediately declared an ancient elven mausoleum. We had elf mummies and everything, it was awesome!